Are we Overreacting to Taj Gibson?

I guess a better question would be “who the heck is Taj Gibson?”  Basically, Gibson is a 2nd year player, and a backup Power-Forward for the Chicago Bulls.  He was the starter last year, but became the backup when Carlos Boozer was signed.  He’s basically the generic defensive role player/bench player on a power team like the Bulls, particularly because Boozer doesn’t have a reputation for being a good defensive player at all.  The only reason he’s famous though, is because of this monster dunk on Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade.

Now I don’t mean to short-change Gibson here, because that’s a sweet dunk.  But that’s all it is.  A dunk.  It’s worth 2/103 points in a 48 minute NBA game.  Now I don’t watch a ton of Basketball, I’ll gladly admit that, but if all we’re talking about is Gibson’s awesome dunk, then we’re definitely not giving credit to players like MVP Derrick Rose (who had the quietest 28 points in a long time last night), Luol Deng (who completely shut down Lebron James last night), and the collective “big men” of the Bulls, who completely dominated the Heat when it came to rebounds.  The Bulls were getting offensive rebounds at 41.3% rate, which is ridiculous, especially compared to the paltry 18.8% for the Miami Heat.  But all of the sports talk TV shows on ESPN seem to be talking about Taj Gibson’s dunk.  Which again, while it’s really awesome, doesn’t even tell close to the whole story.  On “SportsNation” (which I realize isn’t the best show to reference by any means), they were talking about ranking it with other top dunks, which again, I think is a waste of time.  That would be a neat thing to do when the year is over, but again, don’t waste your time talking about cool dunks, talk about the game itself.  That’s the whole point of sports commentary, especially on a show where you have discussions with multiple people.  Is my point clear here?

I don’t know enough about the NBA to qualify what I’m going to say, so if what I’m saying isn’t completely true, feel free to treat this post as the writings of some idiot rambling in the comments section.  From my experience though, a dunk even an awesome one isn’t a game-changer when the game is close.  It’s more of a show of dominance when your team is up by a fairly large margin.  In this case, there was a three point difference between each team, and it was still the first half.  From the recaps I read, the score was tied at halftime, and the game was close the entire time until the Bulls made a 10-0 run during the 3rd Quarter that put the game out of reach for Miami.  So Gibson’s dunk, being in the middle of the first half, wasn’t a statement, or a show of dominance, or anything really.  It was just a sweet dunk.  And that’s fine, but it was nothing more than that.  This wasn’t Derek Fisher’s heroics last year against the Celtics in the finals.

The fact that Lebron James and Dwyane Wade both scored less than 20 points should be the biggest thing taken away from this game.  Or the fact that the Bulls completely dominated the glass and bullied the Heat all night.  Or, if you want to pretend to be a psychoanalyst, as all sports writers love to (See: Jonathon Broxton doesn’t have the heart to pitch the 9th!), you can say that the Heat were on a “hangover” from beating the Celtics, and that they “didn’t look ready” to face the Bulls.  You can clearly see I’m a big fan of such analysis.

Essentially, those are my thoughts on Game 1 of the Heat/Bulls Eastern Conference Final.  I am actually looking forward to the rest of the series, and I hope to provide more analysis.  If you have any thoughts, leave a comment!

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